Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Beta-blockers 'useless' for many heart attack patients, study reports

Tuesday May 30 2017

"Many patients given beta blockers after a heart attack may not benefit from being on the drugs, suggesting they may be being overprescribed," The Guardian reports. Beta-blockers are drugs used to regulate the heart by making it beat…

Fitness trackers' calorie measurements are prone to error

Friday May 26 2017

"Fitness trackers out of step when measuring calories, research shows," The Guardian reports. An independent analysis of a number of leading brands found they were all prone to inaccurate recording of energy expenditure…

Does meditation carry a risk of harmful side effects?

Friday May 26 2017

"Meditation can leave you feeling even more stressed," the Daily Mail reports. The claim is prompted by a study of 60 practitioners of Buddhist meditation in the US which found they'd had a range of "challenging or difficult" experiences…

Expanding waistline linked to an increased risk of cancer

Thursday May 25 2017

"A pot belly is a red flag for cancer," reports the Mail Online after a new study found an increase in waist circumference carries similar risks for developing cancer as raised body mass index (BMI)…

'Chocolate good for the heart' claims sadly too good to be true

Wednesday May 24 2017

"Regularly tucking into a bar of chocolate may actually be good for us," reports the Mail Online. Researchers in Denmark say people who eat chocolate one to six times a week are less likely to get a heart condition called atrial fibrillation…

Just half a glass of wine a day may increase breast cancer risk

Tuesday May 23 2017

"Just half a glass of wine a day ups the risk of breast cancer by nine per cent, experts warn," The Sun reports. A major report looking at global evidence found that drinking just 10g of alcohol a day – 1.25 units – was linked to an increased...

Dementia saliva testing 'shows early promise'

Monday May 22 2017

"Simple saliva test for dementia 'shows promise' in bid to diagnose the disease early," the Daily Mirror reports. This news is based on a laboratory study that took saliva samples from 12 healthy adults, nine adults with Alzheimer’s disease…

Instagram 'ranked worst for mental health' in teen survey

Friday May 19 2017

"Instagram is rated as the worst social media platform when it comes to its impact on young people's mental health, a UK survey suggests," BBC News reports. The survey asked 1,479 young people aged 14-24 to score popular social media…

Swallowable gastric balloon could help with weight loss

Thursday May 18 2017

"Swallowable gastric balloon could help the obese lose weight without surgery," The Guardian reports. The news, which was widely reported, is based on a study presented at the European Congress of Obesity in Portugal...

'Fat but fit' still at higher risk of heart disease

Wednesday May 17 2017

"The idea that people can be fat but medically fit is a myth," reports BBC News. The story is based on research from scientists at the University of Birmingham, reported at a medical conference but not yet published...

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